When a play is in development, going through the endless reading and workshop process that now defines the modern not-profit theatre landscape, it means the play is “not ready” to be seen by a paying audience. Whether or not the human file folders now running America’s once great theatres are artistically-equipped to make that decision is a topic for another column but their idea, an idea borne in the titanic mind of Joseph Papp, is you don’t have to fork over your $77 until they get it right.
If the 2017 Chicago Bears want to be anything more than in development, if they want to give their win-starved fans anything more than the roster is improving, there’s hope for the future, if they want this coming football season to be entertaining and exciting and inspiring and all those other words, they have to take a quarterback in the first two rounds of the NFL Draft.
Mike Glennon isn’t the guy. His numbers will be fine next year because Dowell Loggains’ offense managed to pull fine numbers out of Brian Hoyer and Matt Barkley, both massively limited. But Glennon is nothing but a placeholder. And the Bears – even with their general manager’s “fired up” commentary at the introductory press conference – know it. Despite misguided columns from people like Chris Burke at Sports Illustrated, the Bears are paying Glennon to be a middle of the road starter in 2017 and a backup in 2018. They’re commitment to him as a player is minimal, at best.
Ruling out the notion the Bears believe Glennon is a franchise quarterback (which would be insane), signing the quarterback can have two meanings:
- The Bears believe there is a franchise quarterback in this draft and are not sure that guy will be ready to start on day one. Thus they needed a quarterback for 2017 and preferred one who doesn’t turn the ball over, giving their running attack and defense a chance to pile up some wins.
- The Bears don’t believe this draft has “the guy” at quarterback and, ready to move on from Jay Cutler and seemingly everything that existed before Pace arrived in Chicago, they needed a bridge to the 2018 off-season.
This is a passage from Andrew Dannehy’s Glennon evaluation on this very website:
I went back to 2014 and tried to pick out three of Glennon’s better games and even his best games weren’t good. Out of 114 passes Glennon attempted in the two games, he was inaccurate on 36 percent of them, by far the worst rate of any quarterback — college of pro — I’ve studied so far. Even if you add in the Atlanta game from this past season, his inaccuracy rate is still well over 30%.
If the Bears pass on quarterback early in the 2017 draft, it means Glennon for 2017. But it also means that when the calendar changes to 2018 the Bears will still be unsettled at the most important position in professional sports. Until this franchise answers the quarterback question, sustained success will be an impossibility, a pipe dream straight from the pages of The Iceman Cometh. (Which I’d argue could have used a reading or two. We get it, pipe dreams are bad. Four hours?)
Teams that don’t have their guy at quarterback have one-off successes here and there but they’ll never be consistently competitive. They’ll also be perpetually in development.